Our resident legend of British cycling, Mark Lovatt has spent a big chunk of his year thrashing prototype carbon clincher wheels for us. The result will be with us December 17: 52mm and 60mm deep-section aero carbon clinchers wheels at an amazing £399.99 per pair!
Mark gave us a peek at our new carbon clincher wheels last week, but here's a bit more about them.
Mark and the South Yorkshire hills are hard on equipment. We were determined to make him a set of wheels that were fast, but that were also safe and could cope with lots of hard use.
Since everyone's obsessed with weight we tried all-carbon rims to start with. Mark didn't like the inconsistent braking and heat build up of the first protos, so we tried a different version. They weren't great either and, long story short, we tried a couple more versions before deciding that carbon clinchers weren't ready for Sheffield hill prime time. The horror stories we were hearing about delaminating rims from some other wheel makers ween't encouraging either.
We settled on an aluminium outer rim design, then, with either a 52mm deep rim, or a 60mm rim. It adds a bit of weight, but when you're saving as much drag as you do with aero rims – especially our 60mm version – that's less important. Weight might be easy to measure, but the air is your real enemy. These wheels still aren't exactly boat anchors. A pair of 52mm wheels weighs 1796g, which is lighter than similar aero wheels from big companies whose names start with 'S'!
The 52mm versions are great fast-riding all-rounders. Use them for crits, general racing, time trials, triathlon and group rides.
With the deeper 60mm rim, they're our recommended wheels for against-the-clock efforts and fast riding in flatter terrain. You'll immediately notice the extra turn of speed on the flat – and take
it easy on the descents, those corners are closer and quicker than you think! Use them for time trials, triathlon and fast rides in still conditions.
Both our versions are built on lightweight hubs with 6061 aluminium bodies and high-strength 7075 aluminium axles and freehub body. They turn on super-smooth Japanese-made sealed bearings – two in the front hub, and four in the rear, so they're durable and easy to rebuild.
Hubs and rims are joined by cold-drawn, double-butted bladed spokes made from Sandvik T302 stainless steel. Twenty spokes up front is the optimum balance between aerodynamics and strength, while 24 spokes in the rear means these wheels won't let you down. No odd spoke designs here either – we've used standard J-head spokes so you can get a replacement anywhere without taking out a second mortgage.
60mm rim 52mm rim
Front 831g 821g
Rear 979g 975g
Pair 1810g 1796g
6 December 2011